Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Deepwater Horizon


Since it is literally impossible these days to tell what is real in a movie and what is a special effect, I assumed that most if not all of the huge floating oil rig I was seeing was computer generated. Not so! Well, some parts of it certainly were, and I’m sure that most of the gigantic, fiery explosions were CGI, but they actually built a rig. I couldn’t find out whether or not it actually floated or if it was sitting on the ground somewhere in Louisiana with the ocean CGIed in, but whatever, it must have been hugely expensive. Which is one of the reasons this movie was not very profitable. Spending was out of control, and it cost three or four times what a comparable film comes in for these days.

It’s a lot better than I expected. The disaster happened seven years ago, so I was a little vague on all the details. To refresh your memory, there were eleven dead. The monstrous rig sank two days later, and the plug was pulled on the well it had been drilling, leading to 210,000,000 gallons of crude spilling into the Gulf over the next 87 days. Two men from BP, the company in charge of the rig, were indicted for manslaughter, but the charges were later dismissed. Par for the course. To date, BP has paid out $8,700,000,000, fighting every step of the way. They will end up paying much more than that.

(Full disclosure: BP is what put the food on the table in my parents’ house. Actually, my dad worked for Magnolia Petroleum Company, which became Mobil, which became Exxon-Mobil, which was swallowed up by BP, which stands for British Petroleum. Mobil funded my full-ride National Merit Scholarship to college. I was very grateful, and I remain so, but if you think that means I would cut BP one nano-meter of slack, think again.)